Best Full-Function Preamplifier

Consulting the collective wisdom on the best preamp with built in phonostage (MM/MC). DAC not required but OK if it has one. Below $20K retail. Must be a no compromise solution--outstanding linestage and a flexible, great sounding phonostage that would not make you wish you had separates. Thoughts?


@dentdog May I ask which Supratek preamp you are using and which amp you have mated it with? I am waiting on my Supratek Grange Signature to be built currently...

Accuphase was mentioned above. Unfortunately they dropped excellent 2400 series. Thus I recommend to get on used market and purchase their previous model - C-2450 with AD-2900 phono plugin. Currently made C-2300 model is lower range unit, and C-2900 is much more expensive and lack tone controls. Import it directly from Japan to get reasonable price.


My unit is technically a Chardonnay, having wanted a 6SN7 unit. I did however request  upgrading all the essential parts to max it out. Added about 1K to the stock price. Had it built specifically match a pair of Audiopax M 100s and due to the low 18db gain of the amps, and the high input voltage required  2.5 V, Mick was all to happy to match me up.

Also Mick has a go to repair guy who loves in the states. Believe his name is Slade, could be mistaken.

The McIntosh C49 is a very capable preamp with excellent and wide parameter separate MM and MC phono inputs and an upgradeable DAC. You even get tone controls that are digital and by-passable, so no pots or switches in the music stream. All of the inputs, 7 analog and 6 digital, are programmable for the actual name of the connected device and you choose the order that they appear in. All of the info appears on a McIntosh blue dot matrix display. Check it out here C49.